Operating on my Macbook Pro

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What to do with an out of warranty Macbook Pro

My Macbook Pro just ran out of its 3 year warranty. It has a dual core processor and runs well enough that it will be in use for many more years. I upgraded the ram to 4gB and despite its age, it runs the same processor as my current MacBook Air (MBA)-basically the same specs, only larger screen. Two things made it my home base computer rather than my portable machine.
The battery life is only 3 to 4 hours depending on the usage. Also, in 2007, the largest disk option was 160gB. On the MBA, the Flash memory based SSD imparts great speed and battery life because there are no moving parts. The only problem is that SSD’s still cost a lot of money -for a decent sized SSD of around 500gB, the cost runs over a thousand dollars. Knowing technology, that price will be half in a year and half still in two.

This means I need a stopgap. If I can keep the machine going another two years in useful condition, in two years, the laptop will in fact be faster still than it was when I bought it with better battery life.

That is where this bit of laptop surgery comes in. After shopping around on the internet, I came across this Western Digital laptop hard drive -500gB for $65! It arrived in a recyclable Amazon box. With instructions from the internet, I removed the screws from the laptop.

All the exterior screws on the Macbook Pro have a wax seal, and I suspect that something tips off the Apple techs when they open these cases that the warranty is voided. That is correct -opening the holy of holies will void your warranty. Too keep snoopers out, Apple has made it even more difficult to open their later uni-body laptops, starting with the screws which require proprietary screwdrivers -but even these are available on-line for the adventurous.

Installing the hard drive was fairly straightforward once the dissection was complete -just like in a real operation! I booted up using my Snow Leopard DVD and partitioned the drive into a 400gB section for the Mac and a 100gB section for Windows 7. I’ve become a huge fan of Windows 7, and running it on Apple Hardware is not only ironic, but really great. Using Time Machine (you have to back up to a plugged in hard drive before starting all of this), all of my documents, settings, and applications were restored.

This $65 dollar hard drive gives me enough space to live in for the next two years. It is also a 7200rpm drive, meaning it’s faster than the original stock 5400rpm drive. The drive that I removed I’ll hold onto for now. I will probably slip it into an enclosure and use it as a portable drive for movies and tunes, but with over 300gB of free space on the Mac segment, I’ll be fine for a while.

This is the reason why I prefer Apple hardware. The all aluminum case is still stylish and despite what they tell you, for word processing, internet surfing, movie watching, and photo processing -you don’t need a quad-core processor that will burn your lap. Not to knock PC’s but I have not had an HP, Dell, or a Sony last more than 3 years without dying or getting miserably slow. Plus, in 1-2 years, SSD’s will be cheap enough that there will be no question this machine will be around for many years.

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One thought on “Operating on my Macbook Pro

  1. Pingback: Operating on my Macbook Pro « Golfism -life is a metaphor for golf | ManRepair

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